Is one of your HR duties building teamwork? It might be easier if employees spent more time with each other. Well, that’s exactly what’s happening in Japan, where corporate dormitories for young, single workers are making a comeback. Japanese companies started the tradition of offering dormitory accommodations for young workers back in the 1950s. The practice fell off during the country’s economic slump in the 1990s.
But now companies are bringing them back, finding that cutting the dorms during hard economic times a decade earlier hurt attempts to build corporate culture, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.
Mitsui & Co. has eight dorms — six for men, two for women — for about 430 unmarried employees. They can live there for their first several years with the company.
And the rents are cheap! For less than $185 a month, the dorms offer a private bedroom, a large cafeteria and communal bathrooms, just as college residence halls do in the U.S.
Back to tradition
Japanese companies credit the dorms with building corporate cultures based on loyalty, dedication to hard work and identifying the company as family.
And dorms aren’t the only benefit the firms are using to attract younger employees and build teamwork. They’re also offering all-expenses-paid travel with colleagues and in-house cafeterias.
When some companies closed their dorms, they decided to emphasize Western-style work ethics such as individual competition and performance targets. Mitsui, among others, found this didn’t work as well as the previous teamwork style.
Aren’t young Japanese workers tired of dormitory life by the time they finish college? Not a problem: Many Japanese commute to college.
So dorm dwellers are happy about their living arrangements. “I have friends all around me now,” a 26-year-old Mitsui employee told the WSJ.
Can you imagine starting employee dormitories as a benefit at your company? Is your company offering any benefits to appeal to younger workers? What does your company do to build teamwork? Let us know in the comments section below.